Marijuana Policy Project

Musicians, Actors and Athletes with COVID-19

The following celebrities have passed away from the coronavirus:

He played Richard Mason in "Crocodile Dundee" in 1986.

Mark Blum

On March 25, the stage and screen actor passed away. Blum tested positive the previous week and was hospitalized at New York Presbyterian. He was 69. Blum's career took off after he appeared opposite Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985. He appeared on numerous TV show, including Mozart in the JungleLaw and Order and Capital News, and in such movies as Crocodile Dundee and Shattered Glass.

Nick Cordero

On July 5, the stage actor passed away. He suffered for months after contracting the virus in March, requiring an amputation, placement of a pacemaker and a medically induced coma. Cordero received a Tony nomination in 2014 for his role in as Cheech in Bullets Over Broadway. He also appeared in Rock of Ages, Waitress and A Bronx Tale.

Tom Dempsey

On April 4, the former NFL place kicker passed away. Dempsey had been living in a retirement home in New Orleans when he was stricken. He tested positive on March 30. Fifteen residents at Lambert House have died from the coronavirus. Dempsey, who didn't have toes on his right kicking foot, famously nailed a 63-yard field goal while playing for the Saints in 1970. His record for the longest field goal in NFL history stood for 43 years. 

Manu Dibango

On March 24, the saxophonist from Cameroon passed away in Paris. He had a No, 35 hit with the African-funk song, "Soul Makossa," in 1972. Dibango was 86.

Image via FilmMagic

Joe Diffie

On March 29, the Tulsa-born country singer passed away. On March 27, he said he had tested positive: “I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment. My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”

From 1990-2019, Diffie released 12 albums and had No. 1 country hits with "Home" (1990), "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)" (1991), "Third Rock from the Sun" (1994), "Pickup Man" (1994) and "BIgger Than the Beatles" (1995). He was 61.

Dave Greenfield (second to right) with his Stranglers mates

Dave Greenfield

On May 4, the Stranglers' keyboardist passed away. He'd been hospitalized in England with a heart condition when he tested postive for Covid-19. While they never really crossed over commerically in the U.S., the punk band had a number of U.K. hits, including "Golden Brown" (No. 2, 1982), "Strange Little Girl" (No. 7, 1982), "Peaches" (No. 8, 1977), "No More Heroes" (No. 8, 1977) and "Something Better Change" (No. 9, 1977).

Ellis Marsalis Jr.

On April 1, the New Orleans jazz pianist passed away after being tested for the coronavirus and hospitalized. Marsalis, who was 85, headed the popular Crescent City jazz family that includes sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason. Thanks to his sons' success, he released 21 albums from 1985-2018. A regular performer in clubs around New Orleans, Marsalis also taught at various colleges and institutions.

Terrence McNally

On March 24, the Award-winning playwright passed away. He won Tonys for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993), Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995), Master Class (1996) and Ragtime (1998). McNally was 81.

Alan Merrill

On March 29, the Bronx-born rock and roller passed away. Merrill (nee Allan Sachs) co-wrote "I Love Rock 'n Roll," which was a No, 1 hit for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in 1982. He originally performed the song with the Arrows. Merrill, who's mother was jazz singer Helen Merrill, was 69.

Bucky Pizzarelli

On April 2, the jazz guitarist from New Jersey passed away. He tested positive for the coronavirus on March 29. Pizzarelli recorded 36 albums from 1961-2007. He was 94.

John Prine

On April 7, the folk singer passed away. He'd been hospitalized with cornonavirus symptoms since March 26. On March 17, his wife Fiona said she'd tested positive. 

Prine, who was 73, released 18 albums from 1971-2018. He won Grammys for The Missing Years (1991) and Fair & Square (2005), both in the Contemporary Folk category. Prine's song, "Illegal Smile," on his debut self-titled debut album in 1971, has long been regarded as an ode to marijuana. 

Wallace Roney

On March 31, the jazz trumpeter passed away. "I am saddened to confirm that the iconic trumpeter and jazz legend Wallace Roney passed away due to complications of COVID-19 this morning just before noon,” publicist Lydia Liebman confirmed. “The family is looking to have a memorial service to honor Wallace and his musical contributions once this pandemic has passed.”

The Philadelphia-born musician released 21 albums from 1987-2019. Roney won a Grammy for A Tribute to Miles in 1994. He was 59.

Adam Schlesinger

On April 1, the Fountains of Wayne co-founder passed away. The day before, Schlesinger's attorney Jaime Herman stated, "Adam has been hospitalized with COVID-19. He’s on a ventilator and has been sedated to facilitate his recovery." He'd been hospitalized since last week.

Based in New Jersey, Fountains of Wayne had a No. 21 hit with "Stacey's Mom" in 2003. Schlesinger, who was 52, had received numerous award nominations, including Oscar and Golden Globe recogitiion in 1997 for the title song of That Thing You Do, which he wrote and performed as The Wonders.

Ty (nee Benedict Chijioke)

On May 7, the London-born rapper passed away. He had a U.K. hit with "Oh You Want More?" (No. 64, 2004). Ty was 47.

Hal Willner

On April 6, the eclectic music producer passed away. "I always wanted to have a number one - but not this," Willner tweeted on March 28. He famously produced tribute albums and concerts about a wide range of musical lumanaries, from Thelonious Monk to Shel Silverstein. Willner also helmed albums by Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull (see the section on her in this article) and Lucinda Williams, and worked at Saturday Night Live. He was 64.

 

The following celebrities have tested positive for the coronavirus:

Brian Allen

On April 16, the Los Angeles center said he'd tested positive three weeks ago. "I woke up three weeks ago, I couldn't smell anything I lost all sense of smell to the point where I had smelling salts here, I cracked them open, put them to my nose and nothing happened,'" he told Fox Sports. "All I could feel was texture in my mouth - literally the only sense I had." Allen, who is 24, was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft.

Allen was first NFL player to reveal he has the virus. New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton tested positive on March 19. Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden tested positive on March 24 before he was drafted by the Redskins in the fourth round a month later. "My symptoms thankfully were mild, but I self-quarantined for two weeks and followed all guidelines from health experts," he stated. "I was fully cleared on April 7. I feel 100% now."

In April, Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller tested postive. He's since recovered.

Ray Benson

On March 31, the Asleep at the Wheel frontman said he'd tested positive for the coronavirus. "Well folks, the bad news I've contracted the corona virus," he posted at Facebook. "Been feeling tired for about 10 days. Went to be tested on the 21st. No tests so went home. Went back yesterday feelin the same tired out and they tested. First call this mornin from lab sayin you got it! Hoping for the best, don't have the usual symptoms but feel tired, headache, no fever, no cough. I'll be ok. Sure do miss playin music and seein everyone! Stay well, this shit's serious!! I have been alone for the most part and wore a mask, washed hands used hand sanitizer, still got it! Do not listen to right wing BS! Peace."

Benson, who's 69, co-founded the Western swing band Asleep at the the Wheel in 1970. They've won nine Grammy awards over the years and released the album Willie and Wheel - a collaboration with Willie Nelson - in 2009.

On April 15, Benson reported he'd recovered from the virus: “I kicked that son of a gun. I’m back in the saddle again.”

via Wire Image

Jackson Browne

On March 24, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said he'd tested positve for the coronavirus. Browne, who is 71, has been quarantined since he returned to California from New York after performing at the Love Rocks NYC fundraiser on May 11 at the Beacon Theater. “As soon as I had a small cough and a temperature, I tested [for the virus],” he told Rolling Stone. The result was positive. “My symptoms are really pretty mild, so I don’t require any kind of medication and certainly not hospitalization or anything like that. So many people that have it aren’t going to be tested. They don’t have symptoms, but they might have it and might be able to pass it on. Younger readers need to take part in the global response to stop the spread. That means not going anywhere, not getting into contact with anybody, not seeing anybody.”

Dave and Alexis Bryan

On March 21, the Bon Jovi keyboard player said he and his wife Alexis had tested positive. “The first symptoms were flu-like, with a low level fever around 100 with body aches and headaches,” Bryan told Variety. “We are both quarantined, but it just shows that some people can have it with no symptoms, and some people can have it like me, and there’s others who are really sick and need to go to the hospital. I’m thankful that (Alexis) is not as sick as I am."

Bryan co-founded Bon Jovi with Jon Bon Jovi in 1983. He co-wrote the off-Broadway musical Memphis in 2002.

Larry Campbell with his wife Teresa Williams

Larry Campbell

On March 24, the guitarist's wife Teresa Williams said her husband had tested positive. "Everybody take good care and all the precautions the CDC is recommending," she said in a Facebook video. "This is no picnic. He's sicker than he's ever been in his life. You don't want to get it." Williams and Campbell are currently in different locations (she's in New York City and he's in the Woodstock area). Campbell, who is 65, is known for his work with Bob Dylan, Levon Helm and his wife in their own band.

Campbell says he recovered by the end of April.

Andy Cohen

On March 20, the Bravo talk-show said he'd tested positive. “After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for coronavirus," Cohen posted at Instagram. "As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we’re putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better. I want to thank all the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for all of us, and urge everybody to stay home and take care of themselves.” He hosts Watch What Happens Live on Bravo and Andy Cohen Live on SiriusXM.

On March 30, Cohen went back to work at Sirius. He told his audience: "It took about 10 or 11 days, I would say, to work through my system. It takes a bit to get your energy back. My symptoms were a fever, tightness in my chest and a cough."

Cohen says he “took a lot of Tylenol and Vitamin C and liquids" and recommended using a pulse oximeter.

Jason Collins

On March 24, the former NBA player said he'd tested positive. "I believe I got it while on a trip to NYC at the beginning of the month for the Brooklyn Nets Pride night game," the former Net tweeted. "I had my first symptoms on Wed Mar 11. Terrible headache. A few days later I had a fever and then the cough. Please stay safe and continue to social distance." Collins is the only NBA player to come out as gay. The seven-footer played for 15 years from 2001-2014, but never averaged more than 6.4 point per game.

Novak Djokovic

On June 23, the winner of 17 Grand Slam events said he and his wife Jelena had tested positive. They were infected during a charity tennis event organized by Djokovic known as the Adria Tour in Zadar, Croatia from June 19-21. However, the final match between Djokovic and Gregor Dmitirov had to be canceled when Dmirirov tested positive on June 21. Djokovic returned to Serbia, where he made his announcement. 

Djokovic tweeted the following statement:

"I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm. Everything the organizers and I did the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good condition to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons. We were wrong and it was too soon. I can't express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection.

"It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this. "We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met. Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.

"I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were. I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine."

The second player to test postive in Zadar was Borna Coric.

Djokovic previously had dismissed concerns and criticism of the event, which began with a first leg in Belgrade and continued in Zadar.

"I know there has been some criticism as well coming especially maybe from the West of: 'Why do we have the crowd? We don't have the social distancing, what is going on, why are they having this kind of event in the midst of a really hard pandemic in the West?' But, you know, it's hard to explain to people that the situation is really, really different maybe in America or the UK than it is in Serbia or maybe its surrounding countries."

Image via AP

Placido Domingo

On March 22, the opera singer said he'd tested positive. "My family and I are in self isolation for as long as it is deemed medically necessary," Domingo, who is 79 and is from Spain, posted at Facebook. "Currently, we are in good health, but I experienced a fever and cough symptons, therefore deciding to get tested and the result came back positive. I beg everyone to be extremely careful... Together we can fight this virus and stop the current worldwide crisis, so we can hopefully return to our normal daily lives soon." Domingo was referring to his wife Marta and their three children. The famous tenor has been accused of sexually harassing women.

Kevin Durant

On March 17, the nine-time NBA All-Star announced that he, along with three yet unnamed Brooklyn Net teammates, had tested positive. Durant is sitting out the current season with the Nets as he recovers from a right Achilles tendon injury that happened in 2019 playoffs. "Everyone be careful," he told The Athletic. "Take care of yourself and quarantine. We're going to get through this."

Durant recently commented about marijuana here

Idris Elba (left) and his wife Sabrina Dhowre have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre

On March 16, the actor said he'd tested positive. "I feel OK," he tweeted. "I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. No panic." Elba, who is British, has appeared in Avengers: Infinity War, Star Trek Beyond, Beasts of No Nation, Avengers: Age of Voltron and Pacific Rim. On March 22, his wife Sabrina Dhowre also tested positive.

They both recovered in April.

Patrick Ewing (right) defends Michael Jordan in the ’80s.

Patrick Ewing

On May 22, Georgetown University said its men's basketball head coach and former star had tested positive and was currently hospitalized. Ewing, who is 57, added in a statement: “This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.”

Ewing led Georgetown to the NCAA championship in 1984. He was drafted by the Knicks as the No. 1 overall pick in 1985 and spent all but two years of his 18-year NBA career in New York. Ewing is the league's 23rd top scorer of all time with 24,815 points.

circa 1965

Marianne Faithfull

On March 30, the British singer was hospitalized in London and tested positive. "She is stable and responding to treatment," her manager Francois Rabard stated. "We all wish her well and a full and speedy recovery.” Faithfull, who's 73, had a number of Top 40 hits in the '60s, including "As Tears Go By" (No. 22, 1964). She's released 22 albums from 1965-2018. Faithfull and Mick Jagger were a hot rock & roll couple from 1966-1970. A former heroin addict, Faithfull also suffers from hepatitis C.

After 22 days in the hospital, Faithfull was released on April 22“I want to thank the doctors and nurses who were so good and basically saved my life!” he tweeted.

Freddie Freeman 

On July 4, Atlanta announced that four players had tested positive, including All-Star first baseban Freeman. The other players are pitchers Will Smith and Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma.

“He’s running a fever,” manager Brian Snitker stated. “Talked to him this morning. He’s not feeling great. It’ll be a while before we can get him back.”

An abbreviated 60-game MLB season is scheduled to begin on July 24. As many as 35 players have tested positive in the last few weeks as teams assemble in camps to train for the season.

Other players to test positive include Cleveland outfield Delino DeShields Jr. and San Diego outfielder Tommy Pham.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

On March 11, Hanks and his wife said they'd tested positive. Both are currently quarantined in Australia where Hanks was working on a Baz Luhrmann film about Elvis Presley. He was recently nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Mr. Rogers in It's a Beuatiful Day in the Neighborhood. Wilson has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows in supporting roles. On March 15, Hanks said they would be in isolation for another 10 days. They have since both recovered.

Rudy Gobert-Bourgarel

On March 11, the French-born Utah Jazz center said he'd tested positive. That night, a game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City was canceled after players learned about Gobert's sickness. Just days earlier, he joked about the virus at a press conference. Gobert was traded to Utah after being drafted by Denver in the first round in 2013. He was averaging 15.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season.

On March 27, the Jazz said Gobert had recovered.

Daniel Dae Kim

On March 20, the veteran TV actor said he'd tested positive. "I was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus," Kim posted at Instagram. "Looks like I’ll be ok, but I wanted share my journey with you in the hopes that you find it informative or helpful. Hope you all stay safe, calm, and above all, healthy."

He's appeared on Lost, Hellboy, 24 and Hawaii Five-0.

On March 30, Kim said he was "virus free," explaining: "This disease is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced." 

Olga Kurylenko

On March 15, the Ukrainian-born actress said she'd tested positive. "Locked up at home after having tested positive for Coronavirus,” she posted on Instagram. "I've actually been ill almost a week now. Fever and fatigue are my main symtoms. Take care of yourself and take this seriously."

Kurylenko famously played the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace in 2008. She's also appeared in Oblivion, The Water Diviner and To the Wonder.

On March 23, she posted at Instagram: “I have completely recovered. To recapitulate: For one week I felt pretty bad and was mostly in bed, sleeping, with high fever and strong headache. The second week, the fever was gone but some light cough appeared and I felt very tired. By the end of the second week I felt totally fine.”

Rachel Matthews

On March 17, the actress said she'd tested postive and had been in quarantine the previous week. “Our country is very behind, and we don’t have much of a system in place,” Matthews posted at Instagram. “BUT receiving a test that shows you’re positive really doesn’t change much. It’s not like you receive a specific medication once positive so please, if you have symptoms at all but can’t find a test please just treat yourself as if you are positive (you most likely are). Rest, drink lots of liquids and SELF QUARANTINE.”

She's the voice of Honeymaren in Frozen 2.

Image via The Untitled Magazine

Debi Mazar

On March 23, the veteran TV actress said she'd tested positive. "About a month ago my entire home (husband and two teen daughters) got an odd bug," she posted at Instagram. "Low grade fever, headaches, sore throat, body aches, ears ringing and a dry cough. It cleared up quickly. Seasonal I thought? But it felt unusual/different. Two weeks later, March 15th, I woke up with all those same symptoms but super intense body aches and 102.4 fever. I figured maybe I got the flu or Corona? I had had cocktails the evening prior and smoked a few cigarettes. I figured I had jacked my immune system from having a fun night with friends. I called a doctor/friend to ask if I could get the Covid-19 test on 3/16. He said NO, I didn’t meet the criteria. I hadn’t recently traveled out of the country & I hadn't been with someone who had actually tested positive. I found this kind of a CRAZY criteria for a NYer as I had taken the subway, gone to the theater, the grocery store, the pharmacy, hair salon, etc. I was the Mom who was trying to prepare the home and get supplies & bleach, wipes, dry goods, extra food, etc. Because we have Italian family in Italy and we follow the news closely, my biggest panic was why were they not closing schools in NYC & forbidding movement outside the home without permission, like China and all of Europe? A friend told me that the CityMD Urgent Care in my neighborhood had test kits, which appealed to me as I wanted to stay away from the hospital. I went on 3/17. First I was tested for the flu, which was negative. Then they tested me for Covid-19. I was sent home and told to quarantine myself until I had results, which would take 3-7 days (in S. Korea it takes two hours). Well, today is day 5 and I just found out. I'm hoping I’ve been through the worst of it already. It's very 'morphy.' One day I feel crappy and the next I’m normal. Today my lungs are heavy, but I’m tough. I can breath, and I’m going to heal here in my own home! My family is under quarantine for 14 days. They have no symptoms. I think we all had it possibly already, who knows? Anyhow, stay home people! Protect yourselves & your loved ones. Build up your immune systems. Good Luck & God Bless us all!"

Mazur has appeared on Entourage, That's Life, Working and numerous othe shows.

Donovan Mitchell

On March 12, a day after his Utah Jazz teammate tested positive, so did All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who was averaging 24.2 point per game this season“I’m asymptomatic," he says. "I could walk down the street. If it wasn’t public knowledge that I was sick, you wouldn’t know it. That’s the scariest part about this virus. You may seem fine.” 

On March 27, the Jazz said Mitchell had recovered.

Scarface

On March 26, the Houston rapper said he'd test positive. “I’m scared to death,” Scarface admitted the next day on Instagram Live. “I ain’t never felt like this. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was not in control of what was about to happen. I know we feel invincible at times. If God was trying to get my attention, he now has my undivided attention.”

A former member of the Geto Boys, Scarface has released 11 solo albums since 1991. He had a No. 12 hit with "Smile" in 1997.

Scarface suffered kidney failure in the hospital and was placed on dialysis. He was released on April 20.

Slim Thug

On March 24, the Houston rapper said he'd tested positive. "I got tested for the coronavirus yesterday and it came back positive,” he said in an Instagram video. “As careful as I've been self-quarantined and staying home, I might’ve went and got something to eat or something, did some stuff like that, simple stuff like that, nothing crazy. Stayed in my truck, had masks, gloves, everything on and my test came back positive, so y'all gotta take this stuff seriously. Sit at home, self-quarantine, do not come outside for however long they sayin’. If you have symptoms, you need to go get checked out or whatever. I’m good, I feel good, I don’t got no problems right now. The other day, I had a slight fever and a cough. I feel better now. I don’t have no fever or nothing like that so I feel like I’m good, but y’all better take this seriously. It’s real out here, coronavirus.”

Slim Thug's first two albums - Already Platinum (2005) and Boss of All Bosses (2009) - hit the Top 20.

On April 20, he tested negative for the virus 

Marcus Smart

On March 19, the Boston Celtic guard said he'd tested positive. "I was tested 5 days ago and the results came back tonight, which were positive," he tweeted. "I've been self quarantined since the test, thank goodness. COVID-19 must be taken with the highest of seriousness. I know it’s a #1 priority for our nation's health experts and we must get more testing ASAP." A first-round draft pick in 2014 by the Celtics, Smart was averaging 13.5 points and 4.8 assists per game this season.

On March 29, he tweeted: "Corona Free as of two days ago. Cleared by Mass Dept of Health."

Christian Wood

On March 14, the Detroit Pistons forward became the third NBA player to test positive. On March 7, the Pistons played the Jazz; Wood was apparently infected while playing that game. An undrafted player, he was having his best NBA season, averaging 13.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for Covid on June 29.

More NBA Players

After Rudy Gobert tested positive and the NBA suspended the 2020 season on March 11, as many as 17 more players have reportedly tested positive. They included three members of the Brooklyn Nets (including Kevin Durant), two members of the Los Angeles Lakers and members of the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.

On June 29, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said he'd tested positive. "I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season," he stated. "I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple practices within the first week.

"Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive. Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando. Hindsight is 20/20.”

The NBA is planning to restart the season with 22 teams competing in the so-called "bubble" at Disney World in Orlando, FL from July to October.

On July 5, Dinwiddie's teammate, forward DeAndre Jordan, said he'd tested positive and would sit out the season.

On June 24, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon tweeted: "I recently tested positive for the Covid virus and am currently in quarantine," he . "I'm doing well, feeling well and progressing well. I plan to join my teammates in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season and playoffs."

 

Major League Soccer

On July 7, FC Dallas pulled out of the MLS tournament (starting on July 8) after 10 players tested positive. “The decision to have them not participate in the tournament is in the best interests of everyone, of the Dallas players and the other 25 teams, and allows us to continue to manage the health and safety of our players while continuing to go forward with our plan,” MLS commissioner Don Garber stated.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.